Beaufort News

Burton man charged after allegedly impregnating young relative

Harold Leroy Polite
Harold Leroy Polite

A Burton man is charged with one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct that caused a mentally handicapped 13-year-old relative to become pregnant, according to a Beaufort County Sheriff's Office report.

Harold Leroy Polite, 49, turned himself in to authorities on April 29, according to the report.

Authorities redacted portions of the report that specified Polite's relationship to the girl, but in interviews with investigators she referred to him as "Uncle Leroy." The report described her as "developmentally challenged."

The crime was reported in early 2010 when the girl's mother took her to Beaufort Memorial Hospital because she was not feeling well. Doctors discovered the girl was six to eight weeks pregnant, according to the sheriff's report.

The girl told investigators that Polite impregnated her, but she later changed her story and said she had sex with several other men during the same period, the report said.

Lacking the evidence necessary to prosecute Polite, investigators closed the case until the child was born, and a paternity test determined Polite was the baby's father, the report said.

The Sheriff's Office also is investigating two other men who the girl said molested her, according to the incident report. No other arrests have been made.

Polite was being held Friday at the county Detention Center on a $150,000 bond, according to the jail log. If convicted, he faces between 20 and 30 years in prison.

Last week's arrest also resulted in Polite being placed on administrative leave from his job as a field operator with the Beaufort-Jasper Water & Sewer Authority, said Matthew Brady, BJWSA spokesman. Brady declined to say how long Polite has worked for the utility.

Polite has no prior arrests on sex crime charges in Beaufort County or South Carolina, county and state records indicate.